Recently my husband was placing an eBay order for some electronic components from China and noticed if he got to a certain amount, he got a discount. He looked to see what else was available on their store and noticed some stainless steel cookie cutters. He is always on the lookout for stainless steel for me as it works so well with kilns. They were three small different size circles and were just a couple of dollars for all three. Awesome!
It was hard to be completely confident that they really were 100% stainless steel, so when they arrived I fired one to 1400 degrees F to see if is flaked and it came out the same as it went in with a little less shine to the metal. Now ready to test with glass.
I decided to use each of the three rings differently. First I lined each ring with Bullseye Thin Fire. And yes, if you look closely at the picture you will notice I had the wrong side facing the glass. I was surprised, but it didn’t seem to matter.
I had made some pattern bars with one color being steel blue opalescent and I wanted to see how the pattern bar would melt, so I added one rectangular slice of the pattern bar to one of the rings. For the second ring I nipped some rods into 3/8″ pieces and set them on end with pieces of clear Tekta on top. The third ring was comprised of pieces of Tekta mixed with green and red confetti and green, red and white stringers and some small pieces of dichroic course frit for effect.
- The glass in the smallest ring flowed all the way to the ring and came out very nice and for the purposes of testing how to use the ring worked out quite well. After some smoothing of the edges, fire polishing and a bail, it will be ready to be worn as a necklace.
- The second mostly filled out the ring, but I wish I had added more color and covered the dichroic pieces with Tekta as they didn’t flow as well.
- The pattern bar melt did not fill out the largest ring, but it was still a good way to contain the glass melt.
Since I have a very hard time getting circles for jewelry and wine stoppers to end up both the right size and a perfect circle, I think finding stainless steel circles the right size is the best way to go.
Over the years I have bought shaped cookie cutters and was planning to use them as templates to contain frit and then remove them before firing. However, now I that I know these circles work so well, I might give them a try for say Christmas ornaments. If you do give this a try, make sure you test your cutters first to ensure they are really stainless steel.
As a side note, I have read that using chalk with thin fire around it works well to create holes in glass, so I think a Holiday shaped cutter with chalk will be a great next test and will make a nice ornament. Stay tuned for the results of my tests!